Posts in BLOG

logo 174x60


January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY04 No Comment yet

An early start in the mill gave us the time to get straight into our projects.

Somewhat odd, not having had a talk to get us think; I felt a little lost getting started.  I decided to think about how I want to display my work in the exhibition on Saturday.  I think the best way to get my idea and process across would be to document my construction when people are interacting with it during my workshop.  I spoke to Ben and he suggested taking some footage of it – an exciting thought after seeing how beautifully he filmed Alice’s and Jasper’s pieces.


The most interesting part of the day was chatting to Kerry about In-Situ’s faculty program for local artists.  It sounds like an amazing opportunity – somewhat like Crash, but more structured and long or with the chance to work in Blackburn and have more of a longer impact.



January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY03 No Comment yet



Connecting with people from a previous visit in the Blackburn area: SLYNCS organisation (link to their website?), Richard from the Blackburn Museum and Steven from the Queen’s Mill Museum,

On-going engagement with creative and cultural issues,

Not waiting for permission to explore, do and try ideas,

Traversing the canal area,

Enabling and sharing new ways of thinking,

Xperiencing movement’s performance with Alice,

Time to guess a fortune for Gig.


Reference of the day: Paul Kelly, a connector


IMG_0074 copy


January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY03 No Comment yet

I could not have predicted what this day would bring….Paul Kelly gave a presentation on his work in Housing, Communities and Art.

This was a lightbulb moment for me. Several ideas/concerns/solutions/possibilities aligned to create the seed for a potentially great project.

Paul is originally from Derry, Northern Ireland, so we talked for some time about the city, as that is also my home town. I have in recent years been trying to conceive a project in Derry. Listening to Paul today, it became clear what I could do. I want to initiate a creative community centre in my granny’s old house in the city centre. This would be a space for the local community, artists and anyone who wishes to utilise its facilities.

This is quite an emotional prospect for my family and I, but it would be wonderful to breath life back into the building that has witnessed Derry’s history over the last 100 years. I urgently need to get on with forging links, researching possible funding and how to access it.

I am excited (a little daunted) but mostly excited!




January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY03 No Comment yet

The morning began with a very insightful talk from Paul Kelly, a refreshing take on socially engaged art from someone who was not actually an artist. He was deeply invested in creativity and how creative practice can bond communities and regenerate areas but is not actually a maker himself, which I found both refreshing and enlightening. His glow and excitement when talking about art works in landscapes, working with communities and the potential that can come about from conversation with people who live in the areas art is to be made in was phenomenal. What inspired me the most, and I think will be something I continually refer back to even after CRASH is how does my work effect those who it is engaging with, does it actually help them at all or am I just a pundit to a problem?

Mass Movement- if you had told me a week ago that I was going to be collaborating with a dancer on this project I would not have believed you, but today began the first stages of Mass Movement, a performance project Alice is heading up, using rhythm, pattern and people she is studying how bodies move through a space and how this can connote the passing of time for both ourselves as individuals and the mill itself…. Watching back the video of her work very much reminds me of Gormley’s recent work that involves dance and actual humans instead of just the human form… this is still very much a work in process, but I am happy to be a part of it, it is completely out of my comfort zone, and pushes myself collaboratively.  

Woodcarving- I am finally nearly there with my woodcut, I have pretty much completed all the outlines of the carving and I just need to go in and add some detailed smaller marks to the piece before I will be happy with it that it is finished…. Overall I am exceedingly pleased with the work, it is the largest woodcut I think I have ever done, and has given me a real boost in confidence when working on a mural scale (which will be handy for me in the summer as I begin working on décor/ mural teams for festivals). The piece is also very graphic/bold and yet simple which I think works well within the monumental industrial setting it has now become a part of… although it will be sad to leave it behind I think the works success lies in that it is now part of the mill itself instead of simply a response to it!

Poem- A piece I have also begun to work on today is a poem/ spoken work piece I am writing, the piece is a personification of the Mill and actually written from the Mills perspective! We have spent large amounts of time discussing the local community and the future of what the mill become as well as its impact on those who use it… but I wanted to take a completely new approach to this, my performances and poetry are always very personal to me, so I thought this would be an interesting way to talk humanly about a subject I have only just been introduced to properly. This piece again is very much still a work in progress so you will have to watch this space to know what comes next…

Debate- Finally we ended the day with a group conversation/discussion about what it means to work as a socially engaged artist, how you become socially engaged and what it is that is important to remember when working with the public. The conversation centred about our responsibility as an artist in terms of what we put out in the world, and ended with a debate about audience interpretation and ethical art practice… Although I feel slightly more confused now about the whole topic than I did to begin with, I was glad to be part of it, socio-political work is about questions not just answers and I will now always aim to ask myself how does this piece help others when making my new prints…

logo 174x60


January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY03 No Comment yet

Ok. Feel like I’m settling in. I am catching up with the number of things to do, and am spotting vague amounts of free time. The speakers have been invaluable to this process. I feel like every day each speaker is shining a new light on what we are doing here- making us question the work we are doing in completely different ways each time. For me it’s throwing up some issues with how I’ve organised Crash- but there’s many things that I would change if I were to do this again. I want to make it an annual event partly to see how I could improve on what I’ve done this time.

The participants have been unbelievably fantastic. I’ve tried to rewrite the following sentence so many times that I’m giving up: basically they’re ace. I feel extremely privileged to be working alongside them and I hope that some of the incredible projects that they are working on can be followed through to become sustainable and rewarding artworks.



January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY03 No Comment yet

This morning we had a great talk from Paul Kelly about his work with the housing association and artists.

The mill:

It was really bright today and that meant light was streaming through the windows, which was very beautiful and encouraged me to tape the found book pages to the window (as there are images on both sides of the paper) and photograph the combination. Then I used coloured chalk to roughly draw over the pictures – abstractly and gesturally. I will cut and tear these out as part of my collages.

I thought about the marks on the walls, mainly numbers and phrases such as “Row 3”, and it made me think of how builders will chalk an area, or how developers (or possibly electricians) will chalk the pavement as a code to their colleagues, so I went round the mill and labelled random bricks with numbers, arrows and crosses, which I phptographed. As I usually work with text, I decided I would add some words to the building – in this case song lyrics. I chose sentences which could be read as from the mill’s perspective, if the mill were sentient. Phrases include; “I’ll wait”, “where was our luck when we needed it?”, “And I don’t have to learn from everything”. Obviously this text is quite personal and only I know how they sound but I wanted to explore the place more rather than stay in one room. The colours of the chalk our quite pastel-ly so are hard to see in some lights – almost as if the building is trying to talk to us but we can’t hear it.

The performance:

As Alice is looking at the space from the perspective of a dancer she wanted volunteers to join in as part of a mass movement that she would direct and film. It was so much fun to get involved and then see the result on the camera. Her idea was really clever and I think we achieved what she had envisioned. It made me experience the space in a new way, so I’m really gald I got the opportunity to be part of this.

The collages:

Again I gathered some floor tiles and wooden sections to build up collages with further found imagery and fragments of slate. I’m really happy with these pieces as they are different to my usual practice and they still look quite cool!

The discussion:

Back at the library we had a brilliant discussion about what we think “socially engaging art” is, and we all had varying opinions about this concept. We were reassured that we can work with each other as the direct community throughout this week-long exchange, and don’t have to speak with the community if that’s not part of our typical practice. As we are only here for a week we can’t be expected to get fully involved with the local community in order to make a change that can last, although we established that this would be the goal for an artist working in an area for a long period of time and get immersed in the community.



January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY02 No Comment yet



Definition: a place and/or a time and/or a sensation.

Explanation: Imagine you are in the forest, you are standing there and a bear arrives. Both of you don’t know what to expect from that encounter. Are you scared? Excited ? Are you waiting until something happens? Or do you feel confident?  That’s the sensation you’re feeling before quitting your future-ex comfort zone.

Note: It could also be translated in dutch by “Daar zit je dan”.


The comfort zone is an area where and when you feel comfortable. It is where you feel that you belong to and don’t hesitate to go, visit and come back. But one day, when you decide to go out of it… you just make it bigger. Well, that’s just where/when/how I am at the Crash residency, extending my comfort zone, exploring my uncomfortable zone, already seeing the new gate I have to open to the next U. Z.


This morning U. Z.:

Location: the reception / foyer area of Brierfield Mill; G.P. S : N:53°49’36.96” / O: 2 °14’4.657”

Name of my future-ex comfort zone : // Beware // Free thinking area


Tomorrow U. Z.:

I can’t name it but I already feel it.


Beware, going after an uncomfortable zone may you like to explore another one.


Reference: Joe Fletcher Orr seems to brave his uncomfortable zone by using humour.



January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY02 No Comment yet

Day two. Crash2016

Lecture with Joe Fletcher Orr

Cactus, the Royal Standard, Liverpool

Joe: not attached to own work so can sell it

Beginning the project

I decided to work in the back yard of the Mill. This seemed too good a location to be true: overloaded with materials, clear view of the Mill, the road, the hills and on the edge of the canal. I then  remembered that the back yard was clearly visible from the garage and car park above the Mil which is  accessible for the public. And so I began to build. By the end of the day I had made a narrative: a 3 foot tall brick building with a solid slate roof and an open window, a curved wall around the building and a made a fishing rod coming out of the open back of the building falling threw the wall and into a blue, found, bucket. When I climbed up to view the building from the garage above I realised that my sculpture was difficult to see as it blended into the back yard, but not impossible. Tomorrow I will make more buildings or narratives around the court yard and see the impact of the outcome, to make a world of visual poems within this place.


IMG_0074 copy


January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY02 No Comment yet

What have I been doing with my life?!!

Joe Fletcher Orr, a recent graduate, gave a presentation this morning on his personal practice and experience of running an exhibition space for fellow artists. He is prolific.

He has consistently been invited to take part in exhibitions, and has also worked tirelessly to publicise his own work and that of others. He gave a useful insight and provided tips on how to make this happen for ourselves. He is un-precious in many ways. Happy to instigate concepts and contract the production or making of the work, if appropriate, to others.

Having pitched my initial idea for painting the bridge, it is unfortunately, unviable. It is not entirely a TAZ space, but is in fact the responsibility of network rail. Therefore realistically this could present a problem.

Kerry (in-situ) has suggested that I use this opportunity to learn how to write a funding proposal for the footbridge, to the Arts council/network rail etc, as she has always intended to do this at some point and is very experienced in this area (I am not!). Perfect, as I have been making videos of footbridges, staircases and other thresholds recently, so this feels like a natural progression, and affords the opportunity for others to become involved, including/ and most importantly the local Brierfield community. Again, perfect.

Having purchased the paint already, I will scout a location in the mill, for a possible painting.

IMG_0240 copy


January 12th, 2016 Posted by BLOG, DAY02 No Comment yet

Today started off in a once again utterly inspiring fashion, we had a talk from Joe Orr which was brilliant to see how just having a bit of confidence in your own practice can really get you to where you want to be. Especially in a regional sense. Although I felt a little out of my depth having no idea about the spaces in Liverpool and Manchester he was talking about it was still an educational and motivating talk!  

However what I feel was most important about today was that I started making, I started my first piece of 2016, which feels great! I wanted to start off within my comfort zone so I decided to build on the idea of using ply wood covered doorways to carve into (the window I initially wanted to use I was a bit optimistic with being able to reach) so I opted for a blocked doorway which has been covered with excellent quality ply. The imagery for this piece I wanted to relate back to the original function of the mill so I chose to compose a needle and thread, I wanted the design to be quite simply but have multiple elements to it that I can create in a graphic and almost street art style… I also realised I may have been slightly optimistic with how easy it would be to carve the wood, I guess I didn’t factor how difficult it is to carver vertically rather than horizontally! Nonetheless it has been a very productive day and I have been able to leave my first traces and marks on the Mill.

After this piece is finished many of the other works I create will be far less laborious, more ephemeral and either photographs, performances, happenings, collaborations or poems… so I feel it is important to make at least one piece that has permanence to it, before changing to a more expressive and of the moment style of thinking. I can’t really say much more about today other than this… Only that I know I plan to finish this work tomorrow.